Acclaimed Darden Smith to perform at JCCC, Nov. 5


Media Contact: Christy McWard, 913-469-7684,

Singer-songwriter Darden Smith to collaborate with veteran students and perform at JCCC

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. –  Darden Smith, critically acclaimed singer-songwriter, speaker and founder/creative director of SongwritingWith:Soldiers, will offer a free performance and lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5, in Yardley Hall at Johnson County Community College.

Collaboration and Change – Darden Smith and SongwritingWith:Soldiers, presented by the Polsky Practical Personal Enrichment Series, offers a moving musical experience that honors our military veterans and tells their stories through song. This exclusive performance-based presentation kicks off JCCC’s annual Veterans Week celebrations, highlighting the work done by Smith and his SongwritingWith:Soldiers project. 

During a two-day visit to JCCC, Smith will conduct songwriting workshops with veteran students who will become his songwriting partners. Together they will craft songs about their experiences, about combat and about the return home. These original compositions will be part of this special evening performance and will include an informal presentation and audience conversation with Smith. The performance will use words, music, and images to take the audience on a journey from Smith’s start in the early-1980s Austin, Texas, music scene to his awakening to the power of collaboration, which led to starting a non-profit organization and using his craft of songwriting in the service of others.

Songwriting With Soldiers
Smith is the founder of
SongwritingWith:Soldiers, a free program that pairs professional songwriters with military service members to craft original songs based on their experiences. This collaborative storytelling-through-songwriting is a start to the healing process for many of the hundreds of military service veterans who have participated. SongwritingWith:Soldiers uses songwriting as a catalyst for positive change, offering veterans a unique way to tell their stories, rebuild trust, release pain, and forge new bonds. In SongwritingWith:Soldiers retreat and workshop settings, participants use their songs to rediscover their creativity and reconnect with their family, friends and communities. The songs are recorded and shared through CDs, concerts, and social media in order to bridge the divide between military and civilian communities, and build awareness of the challenges returning veterans often face.

About Darden Smith
Darden Smith has long transcended traditional singer-songwriter boundaries. He weaves together folk and Americana influences with rock, pop and the musical roots of his home state of Texas to create a sound that is uniquely his own. Over his 28-year career, Smith has recorded 14 critically acclaimed albums. Likened to songwriters such as Nick Drake, John Hiatt, Leonard Cohen and Elvis Costello, Smith is one of contemporary music’s most winning and gifted artistic treasures whose consistent creative excellence keeps blossoming. Darden Smith says his career is not what he pictured three decades ago when he released his first album; it’s better. Today, the critically acclaimed singer-songwriter, speaker and founder/creative director of SongwritingWith:Soldiers continues to write his own songs but also uses the medium of songwriting to help other people tell their stories.

This Polsky Series presentation is free to attend, but your RSVP is appreciated. You may email Enjoy refreshments and socializing in the lobby 30 minutes before the program. The event is a collaboration between JCCC Marketing & Event Management and Veteran Services offices, which team up each November to offer a special veteran presentation as part of the Polsky Series and JCCC Veterans Week celebrations. This series is underwritten by the Norman and Elaine Polsky Family Supporting Foundation within the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation in partnership with JCCC, and includes enrichment topics not currently offered elsewhere. Successful professionals share their knowledge to benefit our community. For more information visit

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